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Caribbean Foiling Championships at Orient Bay Beach, Saint Martin - Day 2

by Sacha van der Wouden 12 Dec 2021 04:05 GMT 10-12 December 2021
Caribbean Foiling Championships day 2 © Will Hogan

For this second day, riders completed a lap around Tintamarre island, a qualifying race for the last race of around the island taking place on Sunday. A great way to test skills, equipment and manage energy levels in strong wind conditions in Orient Bay.

A colorful show in Orient Bay

This morning, the 35 registered participants for the Caribbean foiling championships gathered for the technical and safety briefing, equipment rigging and a quick warm-up before getting into the water, offering a beautiful show for accompanying families and friends, and for tourists walking up the beach.

The bay is filled with colorful kites, sails and wings, with the kitefoil, wingfoil and windfoil represented, whose common point is the foil. By allowing the board to rise from the water, the runners quickly gain speed with a strong wind established at 22 knots and started runs in the bay to prepare for the day's race: to complete a lap around the island of Tintamarre.

The total route is 14 kilometers direct, longer going upwind and tacking. The wingfoils did not go all the way around and stopped at a buoy at Tintamarre Point. After a recall start, the race is on for the wingfoils at 10:15 am, then for the leisure category windfoils and kitefoils, and for the professional category kitefoils at 10:30 am. They move away quickly, going upwind and making their mark in the race.

A qualifying stage for the race around the island

Today's race was a qualifier round for Sunday's around the island race, which will be a longer and more physical race. Almost all of the runners have qualified, and once back on shore they share their experiences of the crossing.

"It was crazy," says Dimitri Maramenides, "this is my second time at these championships and I'm constantly improving my skills." For the kitefoil in the professional category, the tour lasted about twenty minutes. Théo Demanez, a local from Saint-Martin and a regular on the spot, explains that this is the first time he has made the crossing to Tintamarre with a wing, having previously done it on a kitefoil.

Safety at sea is ensured by Wind Adventures boats and each runner has a sim card for live geolocation, in partnership with Dauphin Telecom. "Everything went well this morning, we are here to ensure safety and pick up the riders in case of problems or fatigue," recalls Florian, instructor at Wind Adventures.

Time to relax after the effort

On arrival, runners can rest and have lunch with sandwiches and fruit sponsored by Monoprix, and a giant banana cake prepared by Cécile from Wind Adventures. All participants wanted to race some more and two shorter additional races took place early in the afternoon, in order to score more points in a strong wind blowing across Orient Bay.

The results are in, with Jérôme Thebault in wingfoil, Julien Quentel in the professional kitefoil category and Sacha Fortuné in windfoil, scoring a first place after the three races of the day.

"The good thing is that thanks to the championships you really see how a competition works and you learn a lot. I thought I was going to be more tired than that'' said Félix Bellais, 15 years old, winner of the day in the leisure kitefoil category. Next to him, a friend takes a nap in the shade, and another one grabs his board to get back in the water for a freestyle and freeride session.

In the evening, a pizza party was organized at Wind Aventures for runners, to gain strength before the big race around the island on Sunday. You will be able to follow the first of the Tour of the Island aboard Scoobidoo, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. (boarding from Grand Case), price 50 € / person (drinks included) Reservations 06 90 73 66 63.

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